National Drug Take Back Day

by Heather H. Murphy, BS, BSN, RN, Quality and Education Manager, Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care

National Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. Most abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Don’t keep drugs in your home after they are no longer needed. This can be be dangerous, especially if you have children in the home. Even child-proof bottles are not completely safe. Our hospice and palliative care teams will assist you in disposing of leftover drugs.  They can also give you good information and guidance to help you learn more about drug safety. 

A few drugs are very harmful if taken by someone other than the person on the prescription. You should not put harmful drugs in the trash, because a child or pet could accidentally ingest the medicine. You’ll find good guidelines on the DEA website.

You can deal with most other drugs by using drug take-back programs or throwing in the trash.

Before putting drugs in the trash:

  • Mix them with kitty litter, used coffee grounds or dish soap
  • Do NOT crush pills or capsules
  • Place the mixture in a container like a zip-top bag, and throw in the trash
  • Before throwing out empty pill bottles or other packages remember to remove personal information

Take Back Programs

Most police departments and local police stations have take back programs. Many pharmacies now participate, too. Check with locations near you to see which locations may be available. Or look up sites near you on this easy-to-use page. 

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Last October’s Drug Take Back Today had outstanding results!

  • Law Enforcement Participation: 4,770
  • Collection Sites: 5,839
  • Total Weight Collected: 914,236 lbs.  (457.12 Tons)


The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. And, our vision: each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

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